The GPS reads 52-mph and 600 horses are galloping for all they’re worth as we shoot through Biscayne Bay, heading for the inlet. Too bad it’s blowing 20-knots, because I’d like to keep right on going out into the Atlantic. But on a day like this… well, why not? We enter the inlet and the tightly-packed one foot waves turn into a two foot slosh, then series of three to five foot rollers being egged on by a confused chop. My brain tells me to brace for impact but the deck merely jogs underfoot, as the tunnel eats those waves for breakfast. Slow down? Hell no. Stop? Hell no. Turn around? You get the message.
The 320 was, hands-down, the best-riding World Cat I’ve ever been on. For once, the reason why is easy to explain: resin infusion. First off, remember that cats tend to have lower load-bearing capabilities then monohulls. Two thinner hulls are easier to submerge then one big one—the best weight-bearer of all is a rectangular, flat-bottom barge—so all cats tend to be relatively weight-sensitive. Generally speaking lighter is always better, and in many cases you can feel a difference in ride between identical hulls when one has a cuddy cabin deck, and the other a center console. The center console rides smoother, even in the case of small boats where a cabin may add just 400 or 500 pounds to the boat’s overall weight.
Now back to resin infusion: this construction method uses multiple vacuum lines to suck away excess resin, producing the best possible resin-to-fiberglass ratio. Extra resin adds weight but it doesn’t add strength, so vacuuming away the excess doesn’t force a sacrifice (other then, arguably, increased cost). Vacuum infusion and similar fiberglass molding processes have become more and more common in the past few years, but usually on parts and pieces of a boat. It’s still relatively uncommon for the entire hull to be vacuum-infused. But in this case, it is. Net result? The 320 CC weighs in at about 8,370 (without motors). That’s less than many monohulls in this size range, even though cats traditionally out-weigh monos by a healthy margin. And the weight loss not only improves the ride, it also provides an efficiency a boost. How many other 32’ center consoles can cruise at close to two miles to the gallon? Not many.
The excellent ride notwithstanding, there’s plenty of other things to love about this cat. Die-hard anglers will be psyched when they check out the 45-gallon insulated, lighted livewell, raw water washdown, tackle stowage drawers, and especially the forward locking rod lockers, which are sized to hold three 50’s in each side. The fishboxes are insulated and fitted with diaphragm pumps, which are great because they won’t clog or seize up on fish scales and gore. But they’re on the skinny side, and fish over 100 pounds or so will be cramped; giant bluefin hunters will need to carry a fish bag.
The T-top structure is integrated into the console, so there are no tripping points.
Another item on the 320 that both surprised and impressed me was the console and windshield construction. It has a molded, load-bearing frame and there are studs welded into the bottom of the top, which bolt to the deck. Making the top and frame a part of the structure eliminates the need for those pesky cross-braces in front of the windshield, which always seem to be positioned exactly where they get in your way of your view. It also eliminates the usual T-top leg tripping point on the deck. And you sure as heck don’t want to trip on a boat, especially one that’s doing 52-mph through five foot rollers—even if the ride does make it feel like you’re still in that little bay chop.